Poetry meets film

David Vidaurre

Observing an interdisciplinary trend in education and arts, the Art department’s digital processes class is collaborating with the English department’s poetry class for a project this term. The project couples one person from each class together, and these teams create a video that will incorporate a poem in some way. The videos are two-and-a-half to five minutes long and that is the only restriction. Beside that, the students are free to do whatever they want.
The digital processes students were given a portfolio of each poet’s work, and the poets were given samples of the digital processes students’ work. The teams were arranged by the students themselves according to how well their interests aligned with a student in the other class.
In some cases the couples will agree to a poem that had already been written by the poetry student to work with. In other cases a new poem is written for the project. The ways the poems are portrayed vary widely as well. One group is going to have the words read out by a computer. Some groups will only have text. Another group will combine text and sound.
This project gave the groups a lot to consider. Should the videos directly reflect the content of the poetry, or should the images contradict the poetry? One group I talked to was not as interested in reflecting the words in any way, but more interested in creating an aesthetic that corresponds with the poetry. For this group the emphasis will not be on physical representation, but emotional representation.
An outcome of this interesting project is that it broadens the view of things to consider for each artist. Considering how language is involved in the digital processes students’ art allows the art to be more encompassing. But the most important aspect of the project is the collaboration that is supposed to give the student a better understanding of how different forms of expression relate to each other.
Last year a digital processes class collaborated with students in the conservatory and created videos to music by conservatory students. A bit like a music video, but the music was being performed live. Next year there may be collaboration between a digital processes class and a chemistry class. This last type of collaboration is a little more interesting because while poetry, music and digital processing are all understood as art forms, chemistry usually is not, so the results of that collaboration will probably be very interesting.
Since the computer inherently involves the collaboration of many things, digital processing is seen as a good medium for these types of collaboration.
The videos will all be displayed Monday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the Wriston Auditorium.